The above scene is beautiful, tranquil even. This can change in an instant thanks to the power of ‘mother’ earth. The whole of south-east Asia found this out recently with an earthquake south-west of Taiwan measuring 6.7. Not a large quake and only two people died but, deep down on the ocean floor there was chaos. Six out of seven submarine cable systems, accounting for 90% of telecommunications capability in the region were taken out. The earthquake snapped them like breadsticks leaving Reuters, Bloomberg, internet and phone services (both mobile & landline) out of action.
Some service providers utilized capacity elsewhere as an immediate response but, largely companies will be relying on ships to steam out into the earthquake zone to try and make the cable repairs. They are unsure what will be possible as the quake may have buried parts of these cables beneath the ocean floor! Countries around the region say they are not panicking just yet as many people are still on holiday. The test will be next week when offices begin to fill and computers begin to kick back into life. There is uncertainty as to whether or not stock exchanges will be able to handle their normal trading volumes. Needless to say many companies have been losing millions of dollars every minute they are unable to trade. Cable is cheaper than satelite and can handle far more data.
The vulnerability of the electronic world, the knowledge economy has often been sourced to energy problems. ‘Mother’ earth reminds us just who is ultimately in charge.
An interesting note on which to enter 2007. Happy New Year!! 🙂